By Don and Alona Steinke
Sierra Club WA, Loo Wit Group
We in Washington State transfer about $20 Billion out of state each year to Exxon, Chevron, and Shell.
Those companies claim to support decarbonization but say they don’t want to go bankrupt doing it – yet continue to generate record profits, nearly $200 billion. Even with their profit margin usually being higher in Washington than in any other state, the oil industry is now using our climate policies as an excuse for price gouging.
The oil industry is blaming the recently passed Climate Commitment Act (CCA) for record-high gas prices, pointing to the impact on low-income families. However, if industry executives truly cared about these families, they would acknowledge that 35% of the revenue raised by the CCA is allocated for verifiable benefits to vulnerable communities and another 10% to the Tribes. The rest is allocated for pollution reduction in general and is already cleaning our air by funding electric trucks, buses, ferries, and heat-pumps.
In an effort to maintain their grip on the energy market, the fossil fuel industry has launched an initiative to overturn the CCA at the ballot box. There is little doubt these companies will spend whatever it takes to do that – having spent a record $30 million to defeat 2018’s clean energy initiative. After all, what’s a one-time expense of $30 million compared with an annual revenue of $20 billion in Washington and record profits of $200 billion globally?
Don't be fooled by fossil fuel industry funded "Affordable Fuel Washington".
Since February of last year, the oil industry has spent over $1.5 million dollars operating a front group, "Affordable Fuel Washington", which is running ads claiming that climate policies are to blame for high gas prices. So, don’t be surprised if/when a paid canvasser asks you to sign their petition.
We can’t let gas price gouging divide us on the meaningful progress we’ve made on addressing climate change via the Climate Commitment Act. The oil industry will continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars into fake grassroots campaigns and extensive lobbying efforts against climate policies nationally and in Olympia each legislative session.
Washingtonians deserve better. We need more information on what goes into the price at the pump and how much the oil industry generates in profit. California just passed legislation to provide transparency and prevent price-gouging from the oil industry, and so should Washington.